From January to March 2019, CA:MK funded by the Co-op Foundation embarked on the ‘Building Connections’ project. The objective was to explore loneliness in young people aged 8-25 years of age and how community spaces might be utilised to lessen loneliness. We undertook our work in the community of Conniburrow in Milton Keynes where we have use of a Community Hub and Orchard. 

During the project we worked closely with local schools and residents in the community. The local school council was very helpful in co-designing a questionnaire that was circulated amongst peers. We also obtained information from residents living in houses of multiple occupancy, as previous interactions had indicated that residents of this type of accommodation are at increased likelihood of feeling lonely. 
The results of the questionnaires was somewhat surprising. 66% of the school children surveyed told us that they felt lonely some of the time and shared that they would like to take part in craft or physical activities to lessen loneliness. Armed with this information we hosted a free craft session at the Hub and later on, a Treasure Hunt around the estate. These were great opportunities for people who wouldn’t ordinarily meet, to get to know new people. 

Our findings have brought to the forefront that loneliness is a real issue amongst young people. It’s really not an issue that impacts only the old. Going forward we will share our findings in order that partners can consider the prevalence of youth loneliness in their work. In our own projects, we have further youth activities planned. Not only do we hope to provide more social opportunities, we also hope young people will get involved in shaping future provision.

For more information on the Building Connections Project, click here